Nurses in New Orleans
On January 9, 2011, a group of 7 students, one faculty, and a driver departed from Pittsburg by bus and arrived in New Orleans late that same night and assisted at the PACE Clinic of New Orleans from January 10 through January 14.
PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) is a model or care that the students had no previous experience with.
"They learned what all is included in the PACE Model and participated in the care provided at the community based clinic," according to Dr. Barbara McClaskey, PSU Professor of Nursing. "They gained an understanding of the model of care by direct participation in numerous aspects of care."
The students assisted with meals, physical exercises, health assessments, health care interventions, and therapies.
" The students demonstrated an eagerness to learn as much as possible and to do whatever they could to assist in the care of the clients," says McClaskey. "They also demonstrated a sincere interest in understanding what the clients, staff, and families had experienced with Katrina and other hurricanes."
Students prepared for the experience by reading a variety of journal articles on the health care issues that are common among the different cultural groups living in New Orleans.
"Until preparing for the experience, the students didn't realize that there was such a variety of cultural groups in New Orleans."
Students became aware of some of the differences that African American, Creole, or French clients may prefer in regards to health practices and health beliefs. They also read articles related to the issue of survivorship. In addition, they visited with staff and clients who had lived through Hurricane Katrina and increased their understanding of what the experience has been for these individuals.
A total of 7 students gave of their time and served others in a clinic for the elderly in New Orleans, Louisiana. The experience was totally voluntary and was scheduled during the break between the fall and the spring semesters.
At the clinic, students assisted in a wide variety of areas including outpatient, wound care, home visits, case management, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and spiritual discussion groups.
"Based on the feedback from the staff and the clients in the elder care center," says McClaskey, "I think our students portrayed a positive image of nurses."
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